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IGO Special projects are tailored adventure holidays for small groups and families looking for a trip that gives back. Pioneering and totally unique, the focus is on wildlife and environmental conservation in far-flung, remote locations. Led by expert local guides, the groups will take a ‘hands on’ approach and actively participate in preserving nature’s last remaining exotic paradises. The ultimate in eco-tourism!

Much research has gone into selecting some of the most endangered ecosystems on our planet, and we have ensured that our trips directly benefit the local people, wildlife and habitats we are trying to protect. IGO’s ethos is centred around sustainability, social responsibility and low impact tourism. If you are looking to help preserve the world’s last great wildernesses for future generations, then Special Projects are for you.

[ SRI LANKA ]

[ SRI LANKA ENQUIRY FORM ]

Should you have any questions regarding the Sri Lanka Trip please complete the form below or call our experts on: +44 20 8133 4673 (London 9am-6pm, Mon-Fri).

Be the first to camera trap Gal Oya National Park to survey the resident leopard population.

Gal Oya National Park only came on to the tourist map in Sri Lanka 4 years ago, and Gal Oya Lodge remains the only significant property in the vicinity of the national park. With the help of a Conservation Trust, a research centre has been built at the lodge which has the ability to study 26,000 hectares of untouched national park. To date, no wildlife data has been obtained in this region; the team will be laying the areas first camera traps.

[ EXPEDITION OVERVIEW ]

Gal Oya is one of few Sri Lankan national parks where nothing is known about the flora and fauna. Starting in Colombo, a charter plane or private vehicle will head east to Gal Oya Lodge to begin research on the leopard density of the park. Each day is spent out in the field researching the vicinity and setting camera traps before returning to the charm and comfort of the lodge. Evenings offer the opportunity to share stories from the jungle around the campfire or whilst propping up the bar.
After learning how to camera trap and monitor the leopard population, we will stop in Wilpattu en route back to Colombo to spend a night in a luxury tented camp with the team from Leopard Trails. The best safari operator in the busier national park, they will show how reforestation has impacted the leopard population in the area.

[ HIGHLIGHTS ]

• Set camera traps in remote areas of the park to monitor leopard movements
• Conduct biodiversity assessments in the onsite research centre
• Meet the indigenous Veddha people and learn how they live off the forest
• Make daily trips into the park in Land Rovers and private boats

6-12

PEOPLE

9

DAYS

Sep & Oct

BEST TIME OF YEAR

EXPEDITION
ACTIVITY LEVEL

from £3,240

PRICE PER PERSON

Leopards

CONSERVATION

WHO IS THIS TRIP FOR?

Groups of Friends or families interested in national park ecology and camera trap studies

ACTIVITY LEVEL:

Moderate, long half days in a vehicle and on foot. Open top jeeps used throughout

ACCOMMODATION:

Gal Oya Lodge, Wilpattu & Galleface hotel

INCLUDED: 

  • Accommodation on a full board basis
  • Exclusive use of Gal Oya Lodge
  • Permits for research and park entry fees
  • Research safaris at Gal Oya lodge inclusive of boat outings onto Gal Oya lake

 

  • Fees for accompanying research specialists
  • 1 night in Wilpattu with Leopard Trails including game drives
  • Activities during the trip
  • 100% financial protection through the travel trust association

NOT INCLUDED: 

  • International flights
  • Personal items/ clothing
  • Any visa fees
  • Tips for guides
Day 1
On arrival at Colombo International Airport, you will be welcomed by your private guide who will take you to your hotel for the night. Overnight Galle Face Hotel
Day 2
After a relaxed breakfast, proceed towards Gal Oya. The drive across to Gal Oya is long but the journey is pleasant with spectacular scenery driving through Sri Lanka’s tea plantations. Optional: Supplement for Charter Flight from Colombo to Ampara This evening, meet our conservationists who have been the specialist brains behind the conservation project that has been carried out. It’s time to get to know them and get a glimpse of what they’ve been doing over a casual chat and informal introduction before dinner. Overnight at Gal Oya Lodge – Bungalows (Non A/C)
Day 3
Today after breakfast we will have the initial presentation on the research that has been carried out so far through camera trapping. We will also present an analysis of the data gathered. Morning: visit the Wildlife Research Centre at the Lodge. Here you will be able to get an idea about their data collections, results and discoveries. You will also have the opportunity to visit the various camera trap sites around the lodge and see how their biologists, students and naturalists collect the data, prepare it and analyze it. Next, it will be your turn to set the traps. Afternoon: set out on a research safari into the Gal Oya National Park together with our conservationists we will show you some of the camera traps that have been set up inside the protected area. Placing camera traps yourself strategically in the national park to help with the initiative. Return to the lodge after an educational outing and spend the evening listening to leopard stories around the campfire. Overnight at Gal Oya Lodge – Bungalows (Non A/C)
Day 4
Camera trapping in Gal Oya national park. There is an opportunity in the evening to meet the Veddha’s (forest dwelling indigenous people) and learn how they live off the forest. Overnight at Gal Oya Lodge – Bungalows (Non A/C)
Day 5
Today is an opportunity to observe the wildlife from the stunning Gal Oya Lake: including crocodiles, deer, elephants and many rare and endemic species of birds. This experience is the only one in Sri Lanka that enables you to spot wildlife from the water and to truly immerse yourself in the animals’ habitats. You maybe lucky enough to see elephants swimming between islands or bathing at the lake’s edge. We will also be collecting data from the traps set in and around the lake. Farewell dinner and presentation on the leopard findings of Gal Oya.
Day 6
Transfer to Wilpattu national park via Dambulla for further research on the Leopard of Sri Lanka. Overnight at Elephant Stables, Dambulla – Luxury Chalets
Day 7
The landscapes of the Wilpattu National Park reflect an ideal hideout for the varied wildlife species and makes a great contrast to Gal Oya. Popular for its sightings of majestic elephants, lithe leopards, spotted deer, sloth bears and gigantic crocodiles. The park also boasts striking flocks of peacocks, painted storks, jungle fowls as well as mongooses. This evening our conservationists will explain more about the leopard identification program they have been carrying out which will hopefully be used in Gal Oya once more is known about their resident leopards. The naturalists use the data gathered from these studies to differentiate and identify between each individual leopard using their whisker spot ration and unique forehead marking patters. This greatly helps us learn and observe the individual behavior and habits of the leopard and this in turn gives us much advantage when tracking them in the wild. Overnight at Leopard Trails
Day 8
Full day monitoring the leopard population and learning from the top safari operator about the resident leopards living in Wilpattu national park. The afternoon will be spent understanding the how reforestation has impacted the leopard population of Wipattu. Overnight Leopard Trails.
Day 9
oday early morning also you have the option of setting out on a quick morning game drive into the national park before saying goodbye to Sri Lanka.
Gal Oya Lodge:
Gal Oya is an unexplored treasure in Sri Lanka. A National Park surrounded by water and Islands and totally off the typical tourist trail. The eco friendly lodge has found multiple species of animal surrounding the property, such as mouse-deer (smallest species of deer in the world), wild boar, land and water monitor, porcupines and the highly endangered and most trafficked animal in the world, the thick-tailed pangolin. Furthermore, they have observed 3 out of the 4 species of wild cats in Sri Lanka: fishing cats, jungle cats and rusty-spotted cats. The lodge is also concentrating their efforts on studying the 4th species of wild-cat in Sri Lanka, the leopard. With populations unknown to date, the naturalists have seen more than a dozen over the last few years in and around the National Park. The lodge is trying to determine as much as they can about their population dynamics, diet and population numbers. Carrying out an elaborate grid of 20+ trail cameras and non-invasive DNA analysis which you will be part of.
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